Instead of manning dragons or lighting whole cities on fire, Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke is heading to the West End stage in Anton Chekhov’s play The Seagull. The show was postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19.
This won’t be the first time Clarke has made a turn from acting on screen to the stage—she made her Broadway debut in 2013's production of Breakfast At Tiffany’s as the elusive Holly Golightly. The character was made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film.
Unfortunately, her performance failed to capture the same adoration as Hepburn’s, with critics widely panning Clarke in the role. The New York Times described Clarke’s Holly as “an under-age debutante trying very, very hard to pass for a sophisticated grown-up,” while The Hollywood Reporter said Clarke contained “neither softness nor fragility in her grating Holly.”
While that type of criticism would make even the best of actors decide to scurry from the stage forever, Clarke opens up in a new interview with the BBC about the “catastrophic failure” of her Broadway debut and returning to the West End.
“It was just not ready,” admits Clarke. “Was I ready? No, I was definitely not ready. I was a baby. I was so young and so inexperienced.”
Following four Russians as they live on an isolated country estate, The Seagull will have Clarke portraying Nina, a young woman with hopes of becoming an actress.
After almost a decade of being absent from the stage, Clarke says she still has jitters about people’s perception of her. “It’s 10 times more frightening because there’ll be people wanting to go and say, ‘Well she can only act on camera, she clearly can’t act on stage,’ which is obviously the biggest fear,” says Clarke.
Though, Clarke hopes fans of her previous work in Game Of Thrones will come to the Russian play, despite the lack of fantastical creatures frolicking around.
“Hopefully they’ll come and go, ‘We just came to see the Mother of Dragons, oh how frustrating, she’s not on a dragon, this isn’t what I paid for,’” she says. “Spoiler: I’m not on a dragon at any point during this play.”
Unfortunately for the dragon enthusiasts of Clarke’s fanbase, her upcoming mystery role in Marvel’s series Secret Invasion will only have the green-skilled Skrulls who might shape shift into dragons. Who knows!